Awareness seminar on European Union’s Research and Innovation Program Horizon 2020 held

Islamabad, April 25, 2014 (PPI-OT): Acting Ambassador of European Union (EU), Pierre Mayaudon and Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid, unanimously agreed that the Horizon 2020 Program would bring the EU and Pakistani communities together through research and innovation in various fields ranging from agriculture, energy, climate change to biotechnology, safety and security.

Similarly, the objective of the program was to promote “from lab to market” processes. Apart from this improved cooperation between Pakistan and the EU in the area of science and technology could also help Pakistan enter the age of knowledge-based economy. They expressed these views at the awareness seminar on EU’s Research and Innovation Program Horizon 2020 organized jointly by NUST and EU here in Islamabad.

Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid observed that the program of Horizon 2020 offers enhanced cooperation the field of science and technology between Pakistan and the EU and improved access to knowledge-based international markets.

If the opportunities offered by the program were properly availed and a strong research and technological base established, it would have a beneficial and salutary effect on efforts to take advantage of opportunities offered by GSP+. This was the reason Horizon 2020 was being termed as a bridge of science between the EU and Pakistan, the minister observed.

The minister said that this year relations between Pakistan and EU received a huge boost as a result of the coming into force of special trade preferences for Pakistan under the GSP+ regime.

Under the guidance of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Ministry of Science and Technology was implementing the new priorities of the government as set out in PML-N Manifesto. In Science and Technology sector, it has been proposed to formulate a holistic strategy focusing on rapid development of human resources and providing for improved communication and coordination among the S and T, Information and Communication Technology and other sectors of socio-economic development.

Besides this establishment of “Innovation Incubators” at each major institution of S and T and “Technology Clusters” in major cities which also include technology parks. In addition to traditional fields of S and T, the manifesto envisages a paradigm shift to Research and Development in emerging technologies, including Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, and Fuel Cell Technology, Renewable Energy Technologies and Satellite Technology and their strategic exploitation through commercialization.

The Ministry has initiated necessary steps to implement these proposals in particular measures to promote Research and Development in the country and to establish strong linkages among the research institutes and academic institutions on the one hand; and public sector entities, industry and individual entrepreneurs on the other.

Moreover Minister S and T Zahid Hamid said that according to recent survey NUST is among the fastest growing universities of the world. NUST is also ranked no. 1 university in Pakistan and also shares a position in the world top 500 universities.

Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon stated that Horizon 2020 could enhance the integration of Pakistan in the world economy through a more diversified and high quality delivery of products and services as well as provide long term benefits such a much needed job creation.

The seminar was also addressed by Rector NUST, Engr.Muhammad Asghar and the EU’s Regional Scientific Counselor Denis Dambois besides the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, Professor Mukhtar Ahmad. The EU Scientific Counselor gave a detailed presentation on the modalities of the Horizon 2020 Program.

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